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J2 Global 2020 Predictions: Three predictions for data protection and disaster recovery in 2020

VMblog Predictions 2020 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2020.  Read them in this 12th annual series exclusive.

By Dan Timko, chief strategy officer for cloud backup at J2 Global and its OffsiteDataSync and KeepItSafe businesses

Three predictions for data protection and disaster recovery in 2020

Cloud, software as a service (SaaS) and regulations governing data management will all continue to shape the world of data protection, business continuity and disaster recovery (DR) in 2020. Challenges that were already difficult to solve will become even thornier problems next year. So, here are three predictions for the backup and DR landscape over the next 12 months. 

IT leaders recognize need to protect SaaS data

SaaS has already replaced many of the on-premises applications SMBs and large organizations use on a daily basis, and its growth is not slowing down. Large organizations increased the number of SaaS applications they used by 68% in 2018 according to research from Okta, and Gartner estimates that SaaS global revenue will grow 88% by 2022 to $143.7 billion.

But even though SaaS is replacing key applications that are critical to day-to-day business operations, few organizations are taking measures to ensure their SaaS data is protected. Almost three-quarters of organizations either have no measures in place for backup of SaaS data or they rely entirely on the vendor for protection, according to a study from 451 Research.

Reputable SaaS vendors do protect against catastrophic infrastructure failure or a breach, but there's a limit to how long they'll retain data. If an executive accidentally deletes an important email or file and doesn't realize it's gone until six weeks later, that's beyond the 30-day limit that many SaaS vendors stipulate. Without additional protection, that data is irrecoverable.

In 2020, recognizing the risk they're running, IT professionals and leaders will finally start taking measures to close the protection gap for SaaS data.

IT to get some clarity on CCPA and GDPR

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are sweeping laws that govern how organizations must manage consumer data. And while most of the regulations are clear, there are some important areas that are ambiguous.

The biggest for data protection surrounds the now famous "right to be forgotten." Under GDPR, if individuals request deletion of their data, organizations must do so, but does this requirement extend to information stored in backups? If so, that's going to pose enormous problems for IT.

First, it's no easy task to identify all the backup files that could contain an individual's data. Even if one is able to do that, it's not at all clear how that data could be deleted without destroying the integrity of the backup files, which are almost certainly compressed and deduped.

CCPA, unfortunately, is not nearly as clearly written as GDPR, and there are many open questions. For example, CCPA doesn't say whether organizations must delete the data of deceased individuals (GDPR expressly says organizations aren't responsible for deleting data about the dead). Also, it's not entirely clear who qualifies as a "business" and a "third party," which is important, because each category has different responsibilities.

In 2020, we should see the courts and, possibly, legislatures start to clarify these issues.

The cloud becomes an even larger force in DR and backup

One of the cloud's very first use cases was backup. The 3-2-1 rule (three copies of your data on two different forms of media with one offsite) requires storing a copy of your backups off-premises. And it's pretty simple to point backup systems to store files in a cloud storage service to fulfil that requirement.

Unfortunately, though backup is easy, recovery is hard. Without in-house cloud expertise - which is expensive and hard to find, much less to hold on to - it may be troublesome to retrieve data from the cloud when you need it. Because while individual items may not pose a problem, if an entire server is down, recovery becomes much more complex.

It's even more difficult when you look at cloud-based DR. Access and networking work very differently in the cloud than they do on-premises. Without an expert on staff, failing over to cloud-based DR won't just be difficult, it will likely be impossible.

Next year, as organizations experience failed or excessively slow recovery when trying to do cloud backup and DR on their own, more organizations will turn to third parties with specific expertise in managing cloud backup and DR.


About the Author

Dan Timko 

Dan Timko is Chief Strategy Officer for cloud backup at J2, which includes its OffsiteDataSync, KeepItSafe and livedrive businesses. Prior to joining J2, Dan co-founded Cirrity, a BaaS and DRaaS provider that was sold to Green Cloud Technologies in 2017.

Published Thursday, January 30, 2020 7:41 AM by David Marshall
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